In spite of bitterly cold winds, more than 500 runners of all ages lined up for four seeded races. While all the Chichester squad performed with credit, it was 18-year-old Ned Potter who produced the breakthrough performance of the day.
Building on his Sussex senior cross country win in November 2019 followed by his winning run in the Corporate Challenge just over a year ago, Potter knocked 45 seconds off his previous best to record 14min 20sec and finish sixth in the A race. This puts Potter in the top 30 in the UK at this early stage in the season and seventh in the under-20 age group.
Also in the A race was Will Boutwood with a very respectable time of 15.11 and in the top 50 overall on the day. In his longest break from competition for over 20 years, James Baker seems to have weathered the lockdown well and ran 15.44 at Ardingly. This was just nine seconds slower than the fastest over-40 time of the day and puts Baker 14th in his age group in the national rankings.
Still an under 17, Finlay Roberson set a personal best of 17.26 in the same race as Baker and shows promise for the season ahead. Athletes are already looking forward to the next set of races in the series which will be an evening meeting on Wednesday 12 May.
Hammer throwers Andy Hall and Brooklyn Santer-Smith took advantage of the first track and field meeting at Winchester last Sunday and both came away pleased with their performances.
Santer-Smith stepped well to the under-20 age group with the heavier 4kg implement and threw 35.98m which puts her seventh in the UK at this early stage in the season. Coach Hall was also in action in his own right and came away with a distance of 42.06 for the 6kg weight, just over a metre short of his personal best in the veteran 55 age group.
With open meetings gradually resuming, the first of the Worthing open meetings takes place this Sunday with all entries having to be made in advance.
Details are on the Worthing Harriers website.